Anaheim, CA – During Wednesday’s Station Design Conference, Christopher Kehde, AIA, LEED AP, Principal with LeMay Erickson Willcox Architects addressed the topic of designing fire stations with performance goals in mind. The key to finding the path to the station you need, Kehde said, is to know where you are and where you want to go with regard to a variety of factors, including:
• Response Time: Response times are vital to the organization to prove that it’s meeting the community’s needs. Building design plays an integral role in this, as a complex building design that makes it difficult to get from point A to point B will ultimately hinder the firefighters from exiting the station in an expedient manner.
• Training: Different departments have different training needs based on their response areas. Ensure your architect knows what your firefighters need to accomplish at the station and what tools they will need to train effectively.
• Special Considerations: Not only do the architects need to know about special training-related facilities or equipment, but they must also know if the station is expected to have spaces for an emergency operations center (EOC) or even community outreach.
• Sustainability: It’s important to identify any sustainability goals that your department is hoping to achieve, perhaps a minimum requirement or a classification like LEED silver or gold.
• Firefighter Health and Safety: Kehde acknowledged that there have long been debates about how firefighters should spend their “downtime” when they aren’t fighting fires, and this often comes back to a discussion of physical training. As such, will your station include a space for physical training to target firefighter health issues? Additionally, it’s important to look out for the health of the firefighters in terms of their exposure to vehicle exhaust. What type of exhaust extraction system do you envision for the station?
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For a more in-depth look at Designing for Performance, please join us at the upcoming 2016 F.I.E.R.O. Station Design Symposium: F.I.E.R.O.